The Cyberspace Administration of China has informed that twenty-five Chinese tech companies have signed a pledge to counter images and information online that promote terrorism nearly four months after China passed a controversial new anti-terrorism law.
According to the internet regulator, companies have promised to "handle in a timely way terror-related harmful, illegal information, create a clear Internet space and maintain social stability".
The companies which have signed up include BaiduInc, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, JD.com and Sina Corp, the regulator said. Nearly 25,000 posts, 4,000 videos and 200 accounts have been deleted from the Internet so far this year that involve illegal, terror-related content.
China’s new anti-terrorism law that was passed in December last year requires technology firms to help decrypt information and cooperate with the government in fighting terrorism.
The law had attracted deep concerns, not only because of worries it could violate human rights such as freedom of speech, but because of the cyber provisions. While a provision in an initial draft that would require companies to keep servers and user data within China was removed from the final law, technology companies will still have to provide help with sensitive encryption information if law enforcement authorities demand it.
President Xi Jinping’s rule has seen an unprecedented tightening of Internet controls and sought to codify the policy within the law.
China had rebuffed the criticism of the law, saying it is simply doing what other Western nations already do in asking technology firms to help fight terror.Chinese officials say their country faces a growing threat from militants and separatists, especially in its unruly Western region of Xinjiang, where hundreds have died in violence in the past few years.